Davey Phillips says Sheffield Steelers will not be intimidated this weekend, despite the absences of Zack Fitzgerald and Matt Marquardt.
The two players are regarded as the Play Off champions’ enforcers - but have succumbed to pre-season injuries and are likely to miss the Challenge Cup weekend games against Manchester Storm and Nottingham Panthers.
Phillips knows the squad will miss the strapping pair.
But he says the team is street-wise enough to not let opponents take ‘liberties’ against them.
“The game is not about fighting. It is who scores the most goals” said the 30-year-old d-man.
“The main thing is to focus on the hockey.
“I don’t think people will try and take liberties - that’s what the referees are for. If players want to go and sit in the penalty box all night, they can.
“But our team can look after itself. We are certainly not going to go into a shell.
“Nobody would be able to intimidate a team with so many veterans who have seen it all before.
“Manchester or Nottingham won’t try to do anything, both will want to play hockey and take the points.”
Steelers want to do well in a competition in which they fell at the last hurdle last year, losing 3-2 to Cardiff Devils.
Phillips said: “It was a good back and forth game; they scored the crucial goal and we were massively disappointed to lose. It is a hard trophy to win, probably harder than the Play Offs when you think of the Group games.
“You want to win every trophy and regardless of the priorities that is a good one to win. That experience of losing the final certainly makes you more hungry to win it again, definitely.”
Phillips expects to run into an upgraded Panthers team on Sunday: “They had a brilliant start in the CHL. They look like a younger and hungrier team. But this will be the first time we have tested each other out, so we’ll see. They probably had a disappointing season last year but will come back stronger.”